Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Pemberton Manor: The Waiting Woman by Becky Doughty

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Pemberton Manor: The Waiting Woman: A Serial Novel – Episode 04 by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Stella has essentially been waiting in isolation for too long, as if she’s put her life on hold during her later years. But when she witnesses an incident outside of her apartment that, unfortunately, is all too familiar, a crime will lead to her chance to move forward again in Pemberton Manor: The Waiting Woman by author Becky Doughty.

Okay, so for a while there, I almost suspected that Stella might turn out to be a minor character in her own story, serving mostly as a supporting backdrop for the ongoing activity of other Pemberton people. Not that I’m not interested in the other Pemberton people, since I’m happily invested in all of these folks, but I was still pleased to see Stella’s story take a more definite place on center stage, after a bit.

This installment manages to be a little complex, a little more heartbreaking, and also redemptive and fun—not all at the same time, but at the right times. I could empathize with Stella on a couple of different levels, and a part of her past all but sent my stomach plummeting to the floor. *Gasp.* Ouch.

I had some trouble getting a handle on the episode’s flow in places, and a few of the scenes felt a tad long to me. (Ironic, I know, since it’s only about sixty pages of reading.) I also wasn’t that excited to see a returning character in a victim role, since that Pemberton person has already gotten a good amount of that in an earlier episode or two.

Nevertheless, after the inspiring “What are you waiting for?” message in this episode, I’m quite content to be a waiting woman, patiently awaiting the continuation of this serial novel. (That might be kind of ironic too, but, oh well.)


If you’re new to the Manor, you’ll want to check out the first episode, The Goodbye Girl.



Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Giveaway: World of the Innocent

Love. Enduring belief. And the meaning of innocence–based on a true story.
World of the Innocent by Nadine C. Keels

“Just WOW. This book totally blew me away. It’s in my top five of ‘the most romantic books I’ve ever read.’” ~Valerie’s Musings

Find the giveaway for this book in the Faith, Hope, and Book Love group on Facebook.
Giveaway ends March 2, 2018.



Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

To escape their dangerous life in Mexico, Juanita crossed the United States border with her daughter, Linda, back when Linda was only three years old. Now as a stellar student in college, Linda wonders what hope she’ll have for a future in America as an undocumented immigrant in Vivir el Dream, a novel by author Allison K. Garcia.

This novel brings up thought-provoking points, including moral dilemmas of truth and safety that undocumented immigrants face in the U.S. There’s also the issue that immigrants of color are often singled out while white immigrants from places like Eastern Europe, equally undocumented, are left out of the conversation–concerns and complaints.

The story includes an abundant amount of Spanish terms and dialogue and corresponding footnotes with English translations. I can appreciate the authenticity this brings to the story, and I’m not unaccustomed to books that require some language translation. But the frequency of footnoted words, phrases, and sentences was personally distracting for me here. Though it may not be as much of an issue while I’m reading nonfiction, frequent footnotes tend to hinder the flow of fiction reading for me. Even so, my familiarity with Spanish helped me not to feel too lost as I read.

There was a time or two when the story almost felt “keyword conscious” about the issues raised, maybe not as natural, but the humanness of the main characters would make up for it.

Although I only finished about half of this novel, I picked it up believing it to be an important and timely book, and I still believe so.


Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Windmills by Robin Merrill

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Windmills: Piercehaven Book 2 by Robin Merrill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The prospect of new windmills in Piercehaven has the small island town up in arms, with Emily, who’s still a newcomer, caught in the middle. So the prospect of a new softball team—mostly made up of Piercehaven girls who’ve never played the sport before—could be just what the town needs to foster unity now in Windmills, a novel by author Robin Merrill.

There’s a lot that’s upbeat and pretty hilarious in this story. A dry humor often accompanies Emily’s point of view, and the quirkiness and bickering among the townsfolk is almost like an entertaining mix between the small towns of Everwood and Mayberry from two television shows I’m fond of.

Nevertheless, while I wouldn’t say this book has quite the dark edge of the one before it, this story isn’t all fun and games. There are times when serious issues here get real. And I appreciate Emily’s character, who isn’t the syrupy-sweetly-insecure type, but she isn’t a total opposite either, like hyper-aggressive and excessive on snark. She can be a crier, but she’s got fire. Fire under control.

Much like the basketball games in the first book, a great deal of time is devoted to the softball games here. This novel’s several game sequences might be more or less interesting depending on how much you like softball. On a different note, concerning the dark secret revealed in the first book, it seems there should have been more than a passing mention or two of it here. The effects of something like that can be lasting, even traumatic for some, but it appears as if the town (even the teenagers closest to the crisis) pretty much forgot or got over it rather fast.

Still, Piercehaven has been growing on me, and it’d be interesting to see what may happen next.


Here’s my review of the first book in this series, Piercehaven: Welcome to the Island.